The MLB Draft will take place in a couple months on June 4th. Fangraphs has recently released their first mock draft of the year.
Fangraphs recently released their updated draft rankings, with Auburn right-hander Casey Mize and Oregon State second baseman Nick Madrigal occupying the top two spots. I profiled both Mize and Madrigal earlier this year, and it looks like Mize will fly up the draft boards. Madrigal, on the other hand, has been hurt, but his ability to hit and field is without question, and he is a rather safe collegiate bat.
In the first mock draft that Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel released, they have the Pirates taking left-handed pitcher Ryan Rolison from Ole Miss with the 10th overall pick. In the updated draft rankings, Rolison ranks 14th and has the following description:
"“Rolison is a little stiff, his command comes and goes, and SEC hitters have knocked him around, but he’s also a college lefty up to 96 with a plus breaking ball and above-average changeup. He may be a couple delivery adjustments from breaking out.”"
Looking at the numbers that the 20-year-old Sophomore southpaw has posted while with the Rebels shows the control that the two lead prospect writers at Fangraphs were mentioning:
The good with Rolison is the swing and miss stuff, with a near 30 percent strikeout rate this year. The fastball and size, he’s listed at 6-3″ and 205 pounds by the Rebels official site, fits the mold, something that Fangraphs mentions, he is left-handed and the Pirates have only selected two lefties in the first three rounds under Neal Huntington.
But the size, swing and miss stuff, and fastball are intriguing. In terms of his motion and mechanics, Rolison comes from a high-three quarter slot arm slot and has a smooth delivery. The only issue, perhaps one of the tweaks that Eric and Kiley were talking about, would be that he comes in closed instead of square to the plate at times, and does leave pitches arm side.
Tweak the motion and delivery until he’s more inline with the plate at release, or shore up a release point, and more control could come. There might be some trade in the swing and miss stuff – widely effective can work, especially in collegiate ranks – but the fastball velocity is still strong. Rolison, at the worst, should make the MLB as reliever, but the smoothness of the motion and the stuff give him starter potential, likely a three starter with a number two starter ceiling. Rolison could present the club with a pitcher who can contribute in 2020, as that appears to be the next likely window for the Pirates.
*Numbers calculated from the stats on the Ole Miss site